Peter Decherney, Ph.D.

Portrait of Peter Decherney
Professor of Cinema Studies and English, School of Arts and Sciences
Director of the Cinema Studies Program, School of Arts and Sciences; Faculty Director, Penn’s Online Learning Initiative

Peter Decherney is Professor of Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a secondary appointment at the Annenberg School for Communication and an affiliation with the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition at Penn Law School. He is the Faculty Director of Penn’s campus-wide Online Learning Initiative and Director of the Cinema & Media Studies Program.

He is the author or editor of six books including Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet and Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction. Decherney has also written for the New York Times, Forbes, the Chronicle of Higher Ed, and other publications. 

He is an award-winning film director, whose films include a documentary about Myanmar’s film industry, a virtual reality documentary about a Kenyan refugee settlement, and an 11-episode virtual reality docuseries about Puerto Rican artists after Hurricane Maria. He is currently completing a documentary about the Jewish community in Gondar, Ethiopia.  

Decherney has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy to Myanmar. He is an award-winning teacher, whose open online course on the history of Hollywood has enrolled over 50,000 learners.

Peter Decherney’s areas of expertise include media industries and the impact of intellectual property law. He is also a documentary and virtual reality filmmaker.

Decherney's Network

  • Culture and Communication
  • Media Institutions and Systems
  • Center for Experimental Ethnography